September 5, 2010
Fan Expo happened late last month. I didn’t go this year because I figured $35 (Saturday admission was $6 more than the other days) was not really worth it to walk around merchandise booths (where I wouldn’t buy anything), look at former B-list sci-fi actors (i.e., really D-list) from afar and line up for the privilege of doing those things. I did show up to try and hang around to see how people were dressed up, but they changed the layout this year and I was successful. I did end up seeing the Delorean from Back to the Future!
Anyways, perhaps it was the event that sparked me on a sci-fi trip in the last little while. Star Trek and Star Wars are the two big sci-fi franchises, and I think everyone is pretty familiar with them. I have interest in some other smaller ones too, like Babylon 5 and Stargate. But what I have been reading about recently, is Dune.
I first learned about Dune by playing the RTS Dune 2. That was pretty fun! Then I played Dune 1 (which was more of a RPG) and saw the 2000 Sci-Fi channel mini-series remake of Dune (I also bought the DVD somewhere…). Those was pretty good too, but then I never paid too much attention to it afterwards as I’m not a fanatic.
Recently it has captured my attention. While it is classified as science-fiction, I’ve come to realize that it is not the classic science-fiction that I enjoyed when I was younger. In the past, I read sci-fi books because they had all these interesting technology concepts that we don’t have today, but would be cool if we did. There certainly are technological advances in Dune, but there aren’t many; in fact, in the history of the Dune universe, all “thinking machine” level technology (i.e., computers) were eradicated!
What is captivating about Dune is the political struggle and posturing that takes place. Throughout the 15,000 year history, there are about 5 factions at any one time competing for power, and none of them can outright rule because they are all dependent on each other. Whereas Star Trek/Wars might be Axis vs Allies, Dune is very much like the current global-economic relationship.
Unlike our world though, where changes have real-life consequences, and time moves second-by-second. You can quickly move across thousands of years in Dune. You can see how families are merged and alliances are made. It’s like reading the history of Western Europe, except the authors made it interesting!
Maybe this will prompt me to start reading the Dune novels (all 8 of them?), although it is just so much easier to read about them on Wikipedia…